4 things you need to know about Robert Halfon

Big Ben, Westminster

Continuing our series of Conservative MPs to watch - Matt Gillow looks into the rising star of Robert Halfon.

Member of Parliament for Harlow and Chair of the Education Select Committee, the name Robert Halfon is never far away when discussing potential Tory leaders. But what do we need to know about him?

Halfon was born with a form of cerebral palsy

Tragically, Halfon was born with a form of cerebral palsy, and underwent several operations in his youth, causing him to contract osteoarthritis in his thirties. 

He was at Uni with Sajid Javid

Initially studying a BA in Politics, followed by a Masters in European Studies and Russian, Halfon took over the University of Exeter's Conservative Association with Sajid Javid and Tim Montgomerie, Founder of website ConservativeHome. He turned the activities of Conservative Future (as the youth wing was known at the time) from social to political.

He was Political Director of Conservative Friends of Israel

Born to a British Jewish family, Halfon has by nature been sympathetic to Israeli politics, and after becoming Chief of Staff to Oliver Letwin, soon became Political Director of the Conservative Friends of Israel group. During this period, he contested the seat of Harlow on three occasions, only being succesful on his third attempt to become an MP - though his second election saw him lose out by just 97 votes.

He's a supporter of Trade Unions

Arguably out of character for a Conservative MP, Halfon is a big supporter of Trade Unions and is active in campaigning for Conservative supporters to get more involved in the Union movement. Similarly to the relationship many Eurosceptics have with the EU - Halfon campaigns for a reform of government relations with Trade Unions, rather than against them.